Blindspot! What Can’t We See When Examining the Customer Journey?

Guest blogger title

By: Jeannie Walters

January 24, 2017

customer journey
journey analytics
Clarabridge Analytics
Clarabridge Engage
Customer Experience
Customer Journey
Customer Engagement
Customer Journey Mapping

CEO and Founder of 360Connext

Understanding and overcoming common blindspots in the customer journey

You’ve dedicated yourself to understanding your customers better! Fantastic! Maybe you’ve become a survey savant or customer experience evangelist. But what if you’re missing something? What if you’re missing the ONE thing in the customer journey that will make you understand how to truly deliver an exceptional experience for your customers?

We all have blindspots in the way we see the world. We can only view things from our perspective, which makes this whole “understanding our customers” thing so challenging.

Watch out for these blindspots in your own customer journey efforts. What you can’t see can hurt you!

Questions That Ask About an Entire Journey

Surveys are the bread and butter of the customer journey. But as we look at reactions from those transactional one-question surveys, it’s import      ant to remember the customer has had his own journey with your brand and organization.

When a question of “how would you rate your experience” is the only avenue for feedback, the customer may rate the overall experience lower based on the last transaction. So while your overall customer ratings may be slipping, it may be due to a poor end experience like how the furniture was delivered or the apathy of the cashier. It could even be about the latest advertising campaign! Overall, the rating might be higher or lower.

Be sure the question is asked in a specific way to help the customer answer honestly about either the transaction or the overall journey.

Treating One Metric as the End All

Remember when we all learned about Net Promotor Score? How about Customer Effort Score or Employee Engagement Scores? Those are exciting opportunities to learn more about how we’re doing as an organization. But using those individual methods and metrics as the “one true thing” has proven to be a serious blindspot.

These metrics can become tied up in our organization’s self-esteem. We begin to think one more point on the NPS dashboard means we’ve made it! These metrics can help you track your progress, but aren’t the actual answer to the question. The question shouldn’t be “how are we doing on this report?” The question should always be “What can we do to improve the experience for our customers?”

By using these metrics as the only talking points in meetings, we are shortchanging ourselves from really seeing what’s going on.

What Customers Don’t Want to Say

Humans generally try to be polite. We like to be liked and appreciate when others are trying their best. That’s why we don’t want to tell our account manager how we are shopping around before signing the renewal contract. It’s why we say everything was “fine” (with a smile!) to the kind but hopelessly slow server at the restaurant. Many people choose to avoid any conflict in their daily lives, which means they won’t tell you anything before quietly leaving your business for your competitor.

If your customer only has one conduit for feedback, and it’s based on the relationship they have with an individual employee, expect to hear the expected. That account manager believes it when he tells his boss the relationship is solid. That server doesn’t feel a need to speed up because she still got a smile and a tip.

Leaders should recognize the human nature of this type of one-to-one feedback. Find ways to ask for feedback unexpectedly. Have an outsider call the client every so often to ask for how things are really going. Check in with customers after they leave you for the competitor and ask for honest reasons why. Don’t get defensive – just ask.

What if your customers felt like they could tell you ANYTHING?

It might be hard to hear, but I bet you’d be grateful to hear the truth. Let them know you are open to it.

Think of how you deal with the blind spots in your car. You check, double check, and use your mirrors, and experience to merge with caution. The same principles can be applied to finding new ways to understand your customers.


Jeannie Walters has spent nearly 20 years evaluating and improving customer experiences. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) the Chicagoland Ambassador and a CX Expert Panel member for the Customer Experience Professionals Association, a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, and a TEDx speaker.

She’s passionate about making the everyday interactions we all have as customers better and writes, speaks, studies and trains on customer experience issues around the world. She’s worked with Verizon Wireless, Allstate, Bath and Body Works, Orangetheory Fitness, Citrix and many others. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.” Follow Jeannie at or on Twitter @jeanniecw

Clarabridge can help you in understanding customers. See your customer feedback data live, today.